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Le Balcon

Peter Eötvös

Opera in ten scenes Péter Eötvös (1944)
Based on Jean Genet‘s Le Balcon [The Balcony]
Libretto Françoise Morvan, in collaboration with Péter Eötvös and André Marcowicz
Premiere of the opera 2002, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence
Premiere of this production 2014, Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet

Production created at Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet May 20, 2014 Production Le Balcon
Coproduction Opéra de Lille, Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet
Supported by Fondation Orange, Fonds de Création Lyrique / SACD, and Areitec.


We sit inside ‘Le Grand Balcon’, a brothel in which customers may dress up to portray their fantasies. Irma, the owner, coordinates the busy schedule as men masquerade as a bishop, judge, and a general. Meanwhile, the streets outside are in the midst of open warfare as rebels claim more of the city. The only remaining protection of the brothel is George, the Chief of Police and Irma’s lover.

Le Balcon reflects Genet’s interest in sexuality, rebellion, and politics. Genet himself was born the son of a prostitute, who abandoned him as a baby. As a boy, his foster mother caught him stealing out of her purse and she called him a thief, an identity he maintained for the rest of his youth. Le Balcon demonstrates what a fine line exists between dreams and reality, and addresses the role that illusion plays in the breakdown of society.

Composed in 2001-2002 by Peter Eötvös, the opera maintains the intensity of Genet’s powerful text while creating a music that expands this stream of madness, chaos and humor.

Founded in 2008, Le Balcon (musical ensemble) is named after Jean Genet’s play.

Musical direction Maxime Pascal
Sound projection Florent Derex
Staging Damien Bigourdan
Stage director’s assistant Agathe Cemin
Set design Mathieu Crescence
Lighting design Jérémie Gaston-Raoul
Costumes Pascale Lavandier
Computer music design Augustin Muller
Preparation of the singers Alphonse Cemin

•••

Mme Irma, la Reine Rodrigo Ferreira
Carmen Shigeko Hata
la Femme, la Voleuse, la Fille Élise Chauvin
Chantal Laura Holm
le Chef de la police Jean-Claude Sarragosse
Roger Guillaume Andrieux (Athénée) | Damien Bigourdan (Opéra de Lille)
l’Êvèque Florent Baffi
le Juge Patrick Kabongo (Athénée)Manuel Nuñez-Camelino (Opéra de Lille)
le Général Vincent Vantyghem
l’Envoyé de la Cour Benjamin Locher
Arthur, le Bourreau Virgile Ancely (Athénée) | Pierre Bessière (Opéra de Lille)
l’Esclave, danseuse Emmanuelle Grach

•••
Les photographes, les révoltés, la meute du Balcon :
Christophe de Coster
Camille Della Torre
Émilie Haus
David Kahn
Charlotte Lupinski
Guillaume Pevée
Clémence Pointelin
Charles Ségard-Noircière
Samuel Yagoubi
Inès Huchet
Charlotte Deniel
Christophe de Coster

•••
Le Balcon
Musical Direction Maxime Pascal
Flutes Claire Luquiens
Oboes, english horn Guillaume Herbaud (Athénée) / Louis Seguin (Opéra de Lille)
Clarinets Iris Zerdoud
Bass and doublebass clarinet Ghislain Roffat
Bassoon Julien Abbes
Saxophones Juliette Herbet
Horn Joël Lasry
Trumpets Henri Deléger, Matthias Champon (Athénée), André Feydy (Opéra de Lille)
Trombone Mathieu Adam
Tuba Maxime Morel
Percussions François-Xavier Plancqueel, Benoit Maurin, Pierre Michel
Harp Clara Izambert
Keyboard Alphonse Cemin
Hammond Organ Sarah Kim
Violin, strohviol You-Jung Han
Viola Aurélie Deschamps (Athénée) | Andrei Malakhov (Opéra de Lille)
Cello Askar Ishangaliyev
Doublebass Simon Guidicelli



Opéra de Lille, 2015